CLASS 3A DIVISION I
Region III Championship

No. 3 Malakoff Tigers (13-0)

vs.

Cameron Yoe Yoemen (11-2)

7:30 p.m. Friday
Waco ISD Stadium

 

Coaches

  • Malakoff: Jamie Driskell
  • Cameron Yoe: Tommy Brashear

 

Last week

 

Next week

  • Winner faces Hallettsville or Yoakum, Class 3A Division I semifinal

 

Playmakers

Malakoff

  • QB Judd Miller, Jr., 5-11, 200
  • WR/DB Q.T. Barker, Sr., 5-11, 165
  • WR/DB Tyler Russell, Sr., 6-2, 175

 

Cameron Yoe

  • QB Zack Andress, Jr., 5-9, 150 (194 of 308, 2,866 yards, 41 TDs, 10 INTs; 122 carries, 487 yards, 11 TDs)
  • WR Sicory Smith, Sr., 5-8, 135 (65 catches, 1,272 yards, 18 TDs; 7 carries, 186 yards, 1 TD)
  • LB Eddie Luna, Sr., 5-10, 189 (168 tackles, 11 for loss, 2 sacks, 5 QB pressures, 1 INT, 1 PBU)
  • DT Jesse Valdez, Sr., 6-1, 225 (88 tackles, 25 for loss, 7 sacks, 25 QB pressures, 3 forced fumbles, 1 recovery, 1 PBU, 1 blocked kick)
  • S Levi May, Jr., 5-11, 160 (81 tackles, 1 for loss, 5 INTs, 1 PBU, 1 forced fumble, 2 recoveries)
  • WR Jordan Wells, Sr., 5-7, 152 (49 catches, 473 yards, 8 TDs; 25 carries, 167 yards, 2 TDs)
  • WR/CB Iverson Westbrook, Jr., 5-10, 180 (35 catches, 461 yards, 6 TDs; 17 carries, 164 yards, 1 TD; 46 tackles, 3 INTs, 6 PBUs, 1 forced fumble, 1 blocked kick)
  • WR/LB Garret Roeder, Jr., 6-1, 186 (8 catches, 148 yards, 2 TDs; 91 tackles, 5 for loss, 1 sack, 5 QB pressures, 3 INTs, 1 PBU, 1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked punt)

 

Just the facts

  • Cameron Yoe defeated Malakoff, 46-45, last year in the third round of the playoffs.
  • Since 2010, the Yoemen are 87-15 with three state championships and five title game appearances.
  • Malakoff is 77-18 in eight seasons under head coach Jamie Driskell. In the eight previous years, the Tigers were just 28-53-1.
  • The Tigers are averaging 46.8 points per game and have outscored their opposition by an average of 33.6 points per game.
  • Waco ISD Stadium, the site of Friday's regional final, is 86 miles from Malakoff High School and 50 miles from Yoe High School.
  • Yoe is averaging 42.8 points and 390.2 yards per game -- 161.8 rushing and 228.4 passing.
  • The Yoemen and Malakoff share four common opponents -- Rockdale, Troy, West, and Teague. Yoe and Malakoff defeated Troy, West, and Teague, while Yoe lost to Rockdale (80-54), which the Tigers defeated, 27-14.
  • Tommy Brashear is in his first season as Yoe head coach, taking over for Rick Rhoades, who left for Gregory-Portland.

 

Malakoff WR/DB Tyler Russell. (Rob Graham, ETSN.fm)

Key matchup: Malakoff passing attack vs. Cameron Yoe secondary. The Tigers' offense was dealt an early blow when their starting running back was sidelined with an injury, which forced freshman Bre'Shawn Williams into action. With he and junior quarterback Judd Miller doing most of the damage on the ground, Malakoff has been able to withstand the loss and keep moving forward. The health situation at running back also put more responsibility on the right arm of Miller, who has thrived in passing game for much of the season. He has two elite options at receiver in seniors Tyler Russell and Q.T. Barker, which can make life tough on opposing defensive backs. If Miller and the Malakoff passing game is firing on all cylinders, the Tigers are awfully difficult to beat.

To call the Yoemen defense opportunistic would be a dramatic understatement. Yoe comes into Friday's regional final with 18 interceptions as a team, coming from nine different defenders. Safety Levi May leads the team with five picks, while cornerback Iverson Westbrook and linebacker Garrett Roeder have three apiece. In a game where the combatants appear to be rather evenly matched, the ultimate deciding factor could be turnovers. If Yoe's defense can lock down Malakoff's weapons downfield, or marginalize their production by forcing takeaways, the Yoemen could be off with their fifth consecutive regional championship.

Don't be surprised if: Friday's game is a low-scoring affair. Both offenses are coming off subpar performances, and that is a product more of the defenses they were facing. In the case of Malakoff and Yoe, the defenses will be the best units either offense has seen all season. The Yoemen held a powerful Teague offense that put 36 points on Malakoff during the district season to just six points last week, while Malakoff limited a potent Rockdale offense that hung 80 points on Yoe during the season to only 14.